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Thread: Grandparents will not respect my daughters boundaries

  1. #1
    Platinum Member thealchemist's Avatar
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    Grandparents will not respect my daughters boundaries

    My daughter turned 3 in January and has started establishing some physical/privacy boundaries.

    Much of this started when she started full swing into potty training, which makes sense.

    We have a set of grandparents (wife's parents) that live a few hours away.

    They see her less than a dozen times a year. She is comfortable around them but they don't see her all the time so she is still a bit subdued/shy with them.


    Well I have talked to them on several occasions because they seem to ignore/disregard my daughter when she tells them to stop something she is uncomfortable with.

    This happens as one of three scenarios typically.

    They either pressure her to show them physical affection, tickle her while she is screaming for them to stop, or enter the bathroom with her telling them she wants privacy.

    They came over on Sunday to hang out. I left the room to make lunch and I hear my daughter scream bloody murder so I run in the living room. (My wife was feeding our 6 month old in other room before nap).

    They were tickling her while she was telling them (screaming) she feels uncomfortable and yelling "please, stop".

    This is not the first time I have gotten on to them about this either. I go in there and get my daughter to go to her brother's room with my wife.

    Now I have said the same thing to them many times now, this time I added a threat. I told them if they cannot respect my daughter's boundaries they will not get any unsupervised time with my children.

    They always try to give me some excuse, typically along the lines of "she is just a kid" This time I was tired of it and didn't even let them give me an excuse.

    Later that day they asked when she would be able to stay the night with them and I told them again that they won't get to watch her until I trust them to respect my daughter's boundaries.

    We have an upcoming family reunion with them too. Over 100 family members. This will bring up the other boundary issue.

    Many of her family members will tell my daughter she better give them a hug and kiss because they came all this way to see us.

    I stomp this out every time it is said and tell my daughter she only does those things if she wants and has no obligation to give anyone anything.

    But there is an aunt in particular that refuses to stop, so she is barred from being around my daughter without me or my wife around.

    Now this was mostly to vent and help me formulate my thoughts but I would like people's comments, concerns, recommendations on how to deal with this.

    My wife and I are very united and on the same page with this so no resistance there.

    If they don't start making an effort we are fully prepared to never allow our children around them unsupervised.

    And the problem aunt that pushes things badly is very close to being disowned by us. She is also my MIL's twin, who never had any girls and somehow thinks my wife is her pseudo daughter, so my daughter is her pseudo granddaughter in her mind.

  2. #2
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Why does your wife not handle her people? I agree your child’s boundaries need to be respected. But it will mean more coming from your wife.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member maew's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thealchemist
    My daughter turned 3 in January and has started establishing some physical/privacy boundaries.

    Much of this started when she started full swing into potty training, which makes sense.

    We have a set of grandparents (wife's parents) that live a few hours away.

    They see her less than a dozen times a year. She is comfortable around them but they don't see her all the time so she is still a bit subdued/shy with them.


    Well I have talked to them on several occasions because they seem to ignore/disregard my daughter when she tells them to stop something she is uncomfortable with.

    This happens as one of three scenarios typically.

    They either pressure her to show them physical affection, tickle her while she is screaming for them to stop, or enter the bathroom with her telling them she wants privacy.

    They came over on Sunday to hang out. I left the room to make lunch and I hear my daughter scream bloody murder so I run in the living room. (My wife was feeding our 6 month old in other room before nap).

    They were tickling her while she was telling them (screaming) she feels uncomfortable and yelling "please, stop".

    This is not the first time I have gotten on to them about this either. I go in there and get my daughter to go to her brother's room with my wife.

    Now I have said the same thing to them many times now, this time I added a threat. I told them if they cannot respect my daughter's boundaries they will not get any unsupervised time with my children.

    They always try to give me some excuse, typically along the lines of "she is just a kid" This time I was tired of it and didn't even let them give me an excuse.

    Later that day they asked when she would be able to stay the night with them and I told them again that they won't get to watch her until I trust them to respect my daughter's boundaries.

    We have an upcoming family reunion with them too. Over 100 family members. This will bring up the other boundary issue.

    Many of her family members will tell my daughter she better give them a hug and kiss because they came all this way to see us.

    I stomp this out every time it is said and tell my daughter she only does those things if she wants and has no obligation to give anyone anything.

    But there is an aunt in particular that refuses to stop, so she is barred from being around my daughter without me or my wife around.

    Now this was mostly to vent and help me formulate my thoughts but I would like people's comments, concerns, recommendations on how to deal with this.

    My wife and I are very united and on the same page with this so no resistance there.

    If they don't start making an effort we are fully prepared to never allow our children around them unsupervised.

    And the problem aunt that pushes things badly is very close to being disowned by us. She is also my MIL's twin, who never had any girls and somehow thinks my wife is her pseudo daughter, so my daughter is her pseudo granddaughter in her mind.
    All the applause for this! So great you are teaching your kids to have boundaries. As Seraphim says, does your wife step up also and say things to her parents / family?

  4. #4
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    THANK you for standing up for your daughter!!
    Sometimes kids can be bratty and if your daughter wasn't saying "thank you" when she opened a gift, YES i would MAKE her and not "when she was ready"
    But this is different.

    firstly WHO in their right mind just walks into the bathroom when someone is in there? My brother always knocks on the door even when his little boy who is too young for potty training is in there just to teach his son good manners, too.

    I think that MIL and Aunt grew up being taught that you always kissed Grandma etc when you saw them and that is what their parents drilled into them. It was required. I think that you should tell the daughter that "grandma and Aunt Mildred were told they had to kiss and hug people and that is why they do that, but you don't have to. ONly if you feel like it." if you think that it helps her understand why they are the way they are.

    I think that you should physically get between your daughter and the new guest and greet them so that they cannnot walk up and grab her. Perhaps you need to reiterate at a moment where they are not going for a hug and say "we are teaching our daughter that she doesn't have to let someone touch her if she doesn't want it. Tickling too much hurts. And we don't want her to learn she must hug everyone who asks - because then she will feel she has to let strangers hug her too."

    Most importantly - what does your wife say about all of this? She really needs to be addressing this, since it is her family. She may have a different approach than you do and they may react differently to her saying it instead of coming from you.

    I do think that you should not allow your daughter to be unsupervised with them until they can respect her boundaries. And only you and your wife decide.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member rosephase's Avatar
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    Have you tired sending these people some of the numerous article out there on why children having personal boundaries is important to their safety and wellbeing?

    They are from a generation that didn't believe that children needed those things. Maybe some outside information would help them understand why it's so important... although it seems really strange to me that either or both of you saying that it is important, wouldn't be enough.

    Good for you and your wife. I hope that the rest of your wife's family can figure out how to respect your daughter so that they can have a relationship with her.

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    Oh, boy. 3 years old and she has personal boundaries? Are you crazy? You're already seeing the result of this. Your kid goes ballistic whenever something happens that she doesn't like, pulling tantrums that you are supporting. You're allowing her to control you and members of her family rather than the other way around. Plus she's isolating you from your family. She's also becoming extremely anti-social. Sure, I didn't like kissing my aunts and grandmothers when I was young, but I see now that it builds social bonding between family members. Your kid is not going to have that social bonding. This may even affect her ability to form personal relationships and not know how to love. She's going to be a terror when she gets to school and as she gets to her pre-teens she's probably going to be labelled as having Asperger's. I don't know where you're getting this philosophy of child-rearing, but I fear it may hurt her emotionally and developmentally. My opinion. You won't agree with it. But maybe in a few years, you may see the truth to it.

  8. #7
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    A child has a right to protection of their body. Full stop.

  9. #8
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    Originally Posted by DanZee
    Oh, boy. 3 years old and she has personal boundaries? Are you crazy? You're already seeing the result of this. Your kid goes ballistic whenever something happens that she doesn't like, pulling tantrums that you are supporting. You're allowing her to control you and members of her family rather than the other way around. Plus she's isolating you from your family. She's also becoming extremely anti-social. Sure, I didn't like kissing my aunts and grandmothers when I was young, but I see now that it builds social bonding between family members. Your kid is not going to have that social bonding. This may even affect her ability to form personal relationships and not know how to love. She's going to be a terror when she gets to school and as she gets to her pre-teens she's probably going to be labelled as having Asperger's. I don't know where you're getting this philosophy of child-rearing, but I fear it may hurt her emotionally and developmentally. My opinion. You won't agree with it. But maybe in a few years, you may see the truth to it.
    You have NO IDEA what you are talking about.
    you are way off base.
    people should NOT enter a bathroom while someone else is going.
    He never said his daughter never wants to follow rules or say please and thank you ---

    EVERY kid needs to be told that they don't HAVE to be touched. A kid that is told that they have to let any adult touch them that wants to leaves themselves open to being molested because they will learn that they can't say no.

    I will tell you that when i was tickled as a kid, people would pin me down (uncles, cousins,) and it WOULD HURT. I would physically hurt to be tickled. Did you know that it was used as a form of torture way back when?

    He is teaching his daughter that her NO means something. And that is VERY IMPORTANT to teach her she can say NO - that her body is hers.

    I am sure she does hug and kiss other relatives - but it comes FROM HER -- not to be forced.

  10. #9
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    Maybe you can teach her that its okay to shake hands? My great-aunt told me that --- "its okay not to hug people, but when you see them, what about shaking hands?" That was very welcome advice from her -- i was overwhelmed by people who just came up and grabbed me or acted like your in-laws.

  11. #10
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by abitbroken
    You have NO IDEA what you are talking about.
    you are way off base.
    people should NOT enter a bathroom while someone else is going.
    He never said his daughter never wants to follow rules or say please and thank you ---

    EVERY kid needs to be told that they don't HAVE to be touched. A kid that is told that they have to let any adult touch them that wants to leaves themselves open to being molested because they will learn that they can't say no.

    I will tell you that when i was tickled as a kid, people would pin me down (uncles, cousins,) and it WOULD HURT. I would physically hurt to be tickled. Did you know that it was used as a form of torture way back when?

    He is teaching his daughter that her NO means something. And that is VERY IMPORTANT to teach her she can say NO - that her body is hers.

    I am sure she does hug and kiss other relatives - but it comes FROM HER -- not to be forced.
    Amen!
    ......

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